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The Cap : Northern deserts

De
52 pages

It is Manuel’s last day at school. He is happy, because at the end of it, he will be leaving Sydney to meet up with his family. Some weeks ago his father went to work in Darwin as a crocodile keeper in the Kakadu National Park, and his mum and his little sister went with him. Manuel and his family come from the Tumbes river basin in Peru, a place where there are also crocodiles. The fact that his father was familiar with these reptiles was instrumental in winning him the job in the first place.

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Some months before...
AT LAST LESSONS ARE OVER!
MANUEL, SON. I’VE BEEN OFFERED A JOB I CAN’T REFUSE. IT’S IN DARWIN, AT THE KAKADU NATIONAL PARK.
HE’S GOING TO BE A CROCODILE KEEPER. HE’LL KNOW HOW TO LOOK AFTER THESE CREATURES, THERE USED TO BE SOME OVER THERE IN THE TUMBES, BUT YOU WERE SO SMALL WHEN WE LEFT PERU I DON’T SUPPOSE YOU CAN REMEMBER...
3
WELL, THEN, WE’RE OFF TO DARWIN.
SCHOOL’S OUT!!
WOW! I JUST COULDN’T WAIT FOR THE TIME TO MEET MY PARENTS...
YOU’LL SEE SON. YOU’LL BE COMING, BUT A BIT LATER. YOU HAVE TO FINISH YOUR COURSE: YOUR STUDIES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
WHAT? YOU’RE GOING AND I’M STAYING?
IT’S NOT LIKE THAT MANUEL. CHARLES LIVES HERE, NEXT DOOR, AND WE TRUST HIM.
AND HE’S GOING TO COME WITH YOU ON THE JOURNEY BECAUSE WE’VE FOUND HIM A SUMMER JOB IN DARWIN.
CHARLES, IS EVERYTHING READY FOR THE JOURNEY?
ALL YOU’VE GOT TO DO IS CLOSE YOUR BACKPACK.
GRRRR...
WELL LET’S GO! THERE ISN’T A MINUTE TO LOSE!
4
IT’S FOR THE BEST, SWEETIE. YOU HAVE TO STUDY AND CHARLES WILL LOOK AFTER YOU. DON’T THINK WE’RE LEAVING YOU ON YOUR OWN...
IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG TRIP. WE’LL BE GOING THROUGH ADELAIDE, THROUGH ALICE SPRINGS...
CHARLES? I DON’T WANT HIM TO LOOK AFTER ME. I’M ALREADY GROWN UP!
AT LAST THE TIME HAS COME TO GO TO DARWIN. IN A FEW DAYS I’LL BE WITH THEM...
OK, OK! YOU DON’T NEED TO GIVEME SO MANY DETAILS, I CAN LOOK AFTER MYSELF.
WATCH OUT MANUEL!
YES, ONLY SO YOU DON’T GET YOUR HEAD SMASHED UP. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
5
YOU WOKE ME UP!
GLUP!
WOW! IT’S AN INCREDIBLE TRAIN!
ADELAIDE IS A BIG CITY: IT IS VERY MODERN. PITY WE HAVEN’T GOT TIME TO VISIT IT. WE HAVE TO GET THE TRAIN.
COME ON, HURRY UP MANUEL.
YES, AND BESIDES, IT’S GOT A LONG HISTORY, MANY YEARS AGO THE PIONEERS AND MERCHANTS TRAVELLED ON IT. THIS TRAIN BROUGHT NEWS, LETTERS, HOPE...
6
WE’RE HERE MANUEL, THE GHAN AWAITS US.
OUCH... HE’S ALWAYS GIVING ME ORDERS.
YES, SIR. IT’S A BIG TRAIN BUT, WELL. WHAT HAVE WE STOPPED FOR? LET’S GET ON!
NOW YOU CAN SEE MANUEL. LUXURY IS RESERVED FOR THE RICH.
I’VE HEARD YOUR NAME’S MANUEL. MY NAME’S ELSA. YOU KNOW WHAT? I’M WITH YOUR FRIEND: SURE WE CAN’T EVEN TAKE A LITTLE TOUR ROUND THE FIRST CLASS SECTION.
MUM. MANUEL AND I ARE GOING FOR A WALK IN THE CORRIDOR. RIGHT?
YES, BUT TAKE CARE.
I DON’T THINK IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO GET IN FIRST CLASS.
7
WE SHOULD TAKE A LITTLE TOUR ROUND ALL THE TRAIN. SEE WHERE WE CAN END UP...
OOOH!
IT WOULDN’T BE A BAD IDEA.
WE DID IT.
GRRRR...
HAVE YOU SEEN THE BED? IT’S ENORMOUS!
YES. BUT LET’S CARRY ON.
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME LUNCH?
WE ARE NOT HUNGRY.
OUR FAMILY LOOKS AFTER US VERY WELL. AND FEEDS US AT THE SAME TABLE THEY EAT FROM!
8
PHEW! WHAT A RESTAURANT!
OH, DARLING! LOOK AT THOSE KIDS, AND THE WAY THEY WERE EYEING THAT FOOD. THEY MUST BE HUNGRY...
PERHAPS THE POOR THINGS HAVEN’T GOT ANY FAMILY. WE SHOULD TAKE THEM OUT SOMETHING TO EAT...
UNGRATEFUL!